Half-time in the Legislature: Transportation, workers' comp still alive

The State Legislature has reached the half-way mark of the 2015 session and some noteworthy bills – good and bad – affecting the construction industry are still on the move.

Technically the Legislature has reached the “house of origin cut-off date.”  This means that for example a bill that was introduced in the House of Representatives but not yet passed by the House and sent to the Senate is theoretically dead for the year. The exception would be bills deemed “necessary to implement the budget (NTIB)” which have no cut-off. Plus although unlikely the dead bills could be resurrected should legislative leaders so decide. 

Nevertheless it’s an important milestone and allows AGC to take stock of how major issues are faring. Some notable issues:

TRANSPORTATION  AGC is strongly supporting the transportation-funding package passed by the Senate. The $15 billion transportation package – including an 11.7-cent gas-tax increase and other funding measures an appropriations bill for these projects and eight reform bills – passed out of the Senate. Hearings in the House will begin soon. See previous AGC Works article about the transportation package here.

WORKERS’ COMP  Two workers’ comp reform bills backed by AGC recently passed out of the Senate. ESB 5513 lowers the age threshold – to 40 – when a worker would have the option to receive a structured settlement in lieu of a lifetime pension. This bill is expected to have a tougher time passing the House. SSB 5451 expands the voc-rehab program and provides financial incentives employers including the employer of injury who employ injured workers receiving vocational services. This bill has broad support and is likely to be signed into law.

BID LISTING  AGC is opposed to ESSB 1754 which adds building envelope to the list of building trades that a prime contractor must list for bids on public works. The bill passed out of the House and awaits further action in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. See previous AGC Works article about this bill here.

Some AGC-opposed bills that we are glad are “dead:”

• SHB 1038 extending apprenticeship utilization requirements to certain private projects funded in part by government subsidies.

• HB 1163 mandating paid vacation leave.

• HB 1662 mandating the use of design/build on all transportation projects.

Some AGC-supported bills that we are sorry to see as “dead:”

• HB 1073 improving the accuracy of the prevailing rate of wage.

• HB 1074 ensuring the accuracy of prevailing wage survey data provided by interested parties.

• HB 1456 limiting prevailing wage requirements to labor performed at the site of work.

For more information contact AGC Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood 360.352.5000.